The trolley wheels let out a loud screech. Everything jolted forward. Jessina’s body included. She nearly fell into the guy, the one her arm had been brushing against for the past three minutes, the attractive guy with dark hair, dark eyes, and perfect lips.
Oh yeah. He had the kind of mouth that was created to be touched. And by the arrogant way he carried himself, Jessina could only imagine that those lips had been touched a lot. No doubt, they’d done a lot of touching of their own too.
Her thighs clenched, imagining the one place she’d like them to touch.
Shit! Am I really gonna fantasize about some guy I literally bumped into on a five-minute trolley ride? God, Shelby was right. I need to get laid. How long has it been anyway? The fact she had to think about it confirmed her dry spell had gone on for far too long, just like her cousin had said.
A strong whiff of something arousing awakened her from her thoughts. Her nostrils flared for more. Not only did he look pricey, but hot damn the man smelled expensive too.
When the trolley hit the brakes again, Jessina hit something hard—his chest. She bounced off it, but before she fell back on her ass, a strong hand reached out and grabbed her. It pulled her forward, right into a mound of muscles concealed by a crisp, white dress shirt.
Glancing up from the black tie that seemed to be holding in an abundance amount of confidence, she was greeted by intense blue eyes. Smiling from ear to ear, his mouth was in full bloom, but the pleasant little gesture hadn’t reached his eyes.
He inspected her, the examination taking a slow, leisurely sweep over her breasts. It stopped at her hands, where she stood double-fisted. A wallet clenched in one hand and Aunt Lulu—well, the urn containing Aunt Lulu’s ashes—in the other. She didn’t have the heart to stuff her favorite aunt in her suitcase, so she’d held the small urn during the whole flight back from New York City.
“You okay?” asked Mr. Hot Lips. His voice aristocratic and deep.
The husky tone scratched its way between Jessina’s legs, the very place she wanted him to put that sexy mouth of his. But Jessina was no fool. She recognized trouble when she saw it.
“Yeah, thanks.” She moved back from the eye-full of deliciousness.
And he let her go.
Her suitcase had fallen. To preoccupy herself, she picked it up and shoved her wallet in the front compartment. She stood just as the trolley wheels jumped again. This time, Jessina and Aunt Lulu found themselves in full contact with Mr. Hot Lips. One strong hand secured itself to her hip, while the other pressed against the small of her back. Aunt Lulu, an in-your-face kind of gal, would have appreciated the intimate position. But it rendered Jessina uncomfortable. Her comfort zone required at least a three-foot radius, no matter how sexy the other person’s mouth was.
The trolley jostled back and forth. The guy’s fingers sank into her hip, as his palm pressed her closer to his chest. His tantalizing aroma, hard body, those profound blue eyes, and that firm touch had trumped the anxiety that typically overcame her when she found herself in such close proximity with another human being.
Jessina made eye contact. Mistake. Those piercing blue eyes were enough to make any girl lightheaded and giddy all in the same breath. But Jessina reminded herself she wasn’t just any girl. No, Mr. Hot Lips won’t be making this girl swoon.
As if detecting her challenge, the guy’s eyebrow lifted. A portion of his crooked smile slipped into his blue eyes, and they brightened, revealing his ultimate selling point. “Bumpy ride, huh?” he said with a playful tilt of the head.
Damn, if that deep, raspy voice didn’t just pinch her real hard between the legs. She squeezed her thighs. “Very bumpy,” she agreed, not about to fall for his bring-a-girl-to-her-knees grin with that sexy smile that had finally reached those compelling eyes. Her gaze dropped down to his tie. “Um…” Unsure what to do, she placed her free hand on his chest and tapped his hard pectoral muscle—twice. “Sorry,” she mumbled, willing her brain to work. She curled Aunt Lulu into the alcove of her arm. And with some sort of freaky reluctance, she pushed herself away from the guy.
“Sure, anytime,” he smiled as his fingers broke from her hip.
Jessina diverted her eyes from his and shifted to the left. She reached for the pole, the one meant to steady travelers who didn’t have a seat on the bus. Not the six-two, eyeful-of-deliciousness Jessina had used to maintain her stability during the bumpy ride.
The final screech of the tires announced the trolley had come to a stop, and everyone dived for their bags. Grateful for the distraction from Mr. Hot Lips, Jessina grabbed her suitcase and pushed her way to the exit. The glass door opened in accordion-like fashion, and her crowd-splitting maneuverability skills allowed her to exit the trolley third. She headed north, to the parking lot, praying that her car would start when she got to it. The twelve-year-old Corolla had barely gotten her to the McCarron International Airport earlier in the week. The three-hour ride to Las Vegas from Caliente sure had taken a toll on the old girl.
“Hey! Stop! That’s my bag!” The awesome-smelling, arm-touching guy, shouted at whoever had the audacity to put their grubby little hands on his property.
Jessina glanced around the lot. Who would dare try to take this robust nobleman’s luggage, she wondered with a snicker. But quickly sobered for she was the only person standing in that part of the lot. Not only that, but he was closing in on her fast. His handsome face reddened with obvious anger.
“You took my suitcase!” he shouted, as though he was still yards away but now only a few feet from her. Close enough that his damn scent was teasing her nostrils all over again. He’d rolled up his sleeves, revealing tan, strong forearms lightly sprinkled with the perfect amount of dark hair. Jeez. Even this guy’s arms are sexy. The sunlight glinted off the huge platinum watch wrapped around his wrist. He’d loosened his tie, and his two-piece suit was broken-down. The jacket removed and clenched in his fist.
He crossed the threshold of her comfort zone yet again. And without the distraction of the crammed trolley and all the people bumping into her, Jessina’s usual panic struck her like a smack in the face. She succumbed to it and took two quick steps back, being sure to stay in front of her suitcase. “I most certainly did not!”
“Yes you did!” He tried to move around her, but she followed the full circle he’d made to protect the luggage in question. Her luggage! He stopped, propped his jacket-holding fist up on his hip. His eyes hardened into sapphires as he glared at her accusingly.
Jessina glanced over her shoulder relieved to see that it was, in fact, her suitcase sitting there, or Aunt Lulu’s, to be more exact. Shelby had insisted she use it instead of Jessina’s old torn one that she’d brought with her for the trip, a suitcase that looked as if it had traveled the entire globe.
So, if she had her own bag, what was his problem? What made him think that she had his? She flipped her head around. “Look buddy, this is my suitcase and—”
He shook his head and actually growled, a guttural, animalistic kind of noise that turned Jessina on more than off. “It is not!”
“Yes it is!”
“Move out of my way and let me check for myself.” He took a step toward her.
“Hey! Back the hell off!” She shot out a hand to stop him and was glad when he obeyed. She couldn’t bear grazing that hunky chest again. “This…” She circled her hand in front of her body. “This here…” She pointed down to some imaginary barrier. “I don’t know who the hell you think you are, but this here is my space, and I don’t want you in it or even near it. You got that?”
His eyebrows dipped, and his forehead creased. Clearly, he hadn’t expected her refusal or her comfort zone prohibition. The arrogant man probably wasn’t used to people denying him what he wanted. He forked five long digits through his dark hair and let out a low, harsh breath. “Prove it. Open it.”
“Excuse me?” There was no way Jessina was going to open her bag at the demands of a total stranger. Shelby had teased her all week about not getting laid, and just before Jessina had left New York, her cousin had whispered in her ear, “I left you a little present in your bag.” Jessina could only imagine what her cousin had put in there. It could be a personal aid of some sort. Something that required batteries. Opening that luggage in front of a stranger in that parking lot just wasn’t going to happen. “If you just relax a second and stop barking orders, maybe we can figure this out.”
His shoulders dropped, and his tense stature had settled a bit. But his eyes remained grave, as he arched an eyebrow at her.
“Now, why do you believe I have your suitcase?”
“It was right next to me on the trolley, and when you left, I watched you take it. That’s why,” he snarled through thin, tight lips that were still tempting beyond belief. Even growling like some kind of untamed animal—or maybe because he was doing so—the guy was hot.
She shook her head as his words registered. “I can assure you that I am no thief and this is not your suitcase!”
“I’m not suggesting you stole it, merely that you grabbed it by accident,” he replied with cynicism dripping from his voice.
“What kind of suitcase is it?”
“Uh…” He pointed to her suitcase. “That kind.”
“No.” Smart-ass. She lifted her chin, “I mean, what brand?”
His hand shot out in the air. “What the hell does that matter?”
“If they’re not the same brand, then we can be done with this nonsense,” she reasoned, although he seemed like just the type to own a Louis Vuitton. Like Aunt Lulu, he appeared to have very expensive taste.
“Just show me the damn thing.” He dropped his hand.
“The brand?” she insisted.
“How the hell am I supposed to know? I didn’t purchase it.” His delicious mouth twisted into a smirk. “I’ve got people—you know, to do things like that for me.”
“Of course you do.”
“That’s it! As fun as all this is, I’m through playing with you.” He leaned to the left to try to reach around her.
As Jessina went to push him away, the urn slipped out of her hand and hit the ground with a loud crash. Ashes spilled out from the broken vase onto the asphalt. Just as Jessina dropped to her knees, a shiny black shoe slipped in front of her. The rude, arrogant man had stepped right on Aunt Lulu! Furious, she jumped up. He must have been bending down at that precise moment, because her shoulder smacked him square in the mouth, and she felt something pierce her shirt.
It could have been a tooth.
“Shit!” He cursed a few choice words, straightened to his full height, and covered his mouth with his hand.
“Oh my God. I’m so sorry!” She shot up and reached for him. When her hand touched his, he stilled. It was different from earlier, when he’d touched her on the trolley. When she’d been protected by clothing. This time, it was full-blown flesh-on-flesh contact, and the overwhelming sensations that shot through her set her entire body on fire. She wondered if he felt the inferno too. The blue in his eyes sharpened, and he seemed to be holding his breath. His sexy mouth was partially ajar, like an invitation beckoning her tongue to come on in. She licked her bottom lip, fearful that drool might be dripping from it.
He watched the whole tongue-sneaking-out-for-a-peek, then reached up, gently covered the hand she was holding over his, and curled his fingers around it. The warm connection turned all those overwhelming sensations she’d felt into a searing liquid. And the heat of it soared between her thighs. The wetness nearly soothed the soreness of the previous pinches he’d caused down there. God! I seriously need to take care of my deprived hormones!
“It’s okay. I’m fine,” he huskily said, dragging her hand away. His fingers slithered from hers as veiled eyes raked over every inch of her body. “It was my fault. Really, I didn’t mean to hassle you like that.” He sighed, and shoved his fingers through his hair again. “I just need to be sure that’s not my suitcase. There are some very important papers in mine.”
She watched him carefully as he spoke. He appeared uncomfortable about the apology, yet sincere. She turned, bent down, unzipped her bag, and reached in. She felt something soft and pulled it out, praying it wasn’t her cotton granny panties. She cursed Shelby when she saw the red silk nightie in her hand. She took a deep breath and held it up higher. “I don’t think this would be in your suitcase, do you?”
His eyes went from the scrap of red, lacey silk to the trolley that was starting to drive away. Without another word, the man turned on his heels and started to chase it.
Jessina glanced down at the ground. Aunt Lulu’s ashes were nearly gone. The light breeze had blown them away. Although the McCarron International Airport was not where she wanted to put her favorite aunt, Jessina had to laugh at the crazy predicament.
Knowing her aunt, she shook her head, and then looked up to the sky. “I bet you’re getting a real good laugh out of all of this too. Aren’t you, Aunt Lulu?”